Editorial. Satya Pal Singh - XXII.XI. XIII
Tehelka & Tejpal’s Umbrella
By Satya Pal Singh
An individual's greatness lies in living within the periphery of unfailing responsibility and the ability to control wayward passions. Only through a rough road that testifies to the life's strength each moment, can one reach lofty heights. A man like Tarun Tejpal, who created Tehelka with soaring ambitions and much eclat, declaring great intent to fight all that is wrong and troublesome in society, himself goes demeaning and accursed of moral turpitude.
A woman journalist on his staff becomes victim of his baser instincts. Though he accepts his "folly" and goes into "penance", side-stepping from office for a few months, he prefers to dish out an amazingly ridiculous excuse in defence of the indefensible, something that constitutes serious cognizable offence, punishable under stringent legal provisions. He says his offence (sexual assault) was an "error of judgement" and chooses to "punish" himself by temporarily quitting office. What a shame! Even Tehelka management asserts it's an "internal matter." Can an accused of such a heinous crime get away with "self-atonement"? Is he a divine entity? If such a choice is given to culprits, they all would walk free and commit crimes all over again. The offender here knows that his criminal act outraged the modesty of a young woman, grievously hurt her psyche and breached the code of conduct. Obviously in state of turmoil and panic, he is attempting to build composure to get out of the mess.
Ayn Rand, who analyzed the phenomenon of "error of knowledge" (judgement) in great detail, concludes thus: "Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality. An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience. But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought. That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you ; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul. Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any break of morality."
Therefore, if the clamor is not to spare this mighty offender, it's within the realm of propriety. I understand Goa police may call him for questioning. He deserves immediate arrest to ensure justice to the victim. If Tejpal hopes to skip the dragnet using his "apology" as an umbrella, then he is hoping for too much. There is law in place in offices too, to move against such offenders and get them punished. It's rumored that some highly placed political bosses are out to shield him. One wonders how can the authorities look away even if an influential individual like Tarun tejpal happens to be the culprit. Demand to nab him is gaining momentum. Editors Guild too wants action on this scandal!
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